Cuba Expands Wi-Fi Access Across Entire Island

imagesEasy access to the Internet is becoming a reality in Cuba.

The island, currently experiencing a thaw in diplomatic relations between the U.S. for the first time in over 50 years, has just opened 35 Wi-Fi access points across the nation. A mere 3.4 percent of Cuban homes currently have either intranet or Internet access.

For years now, Internet access in Cuba has only been available for a few as broadband Internet access had been mostly limited to state Internet parlors or to expensive hotels. A mere 3.4 percent of Cuban homes currently have either intranet or Internet access.

Addressing the coming of wide-spread Internet abilities to Cuba, William LeoGrande, a professor of government at American University, said, “Historically, Cuba has had probably the worst Internet access in the hemisphere. Clearly, the Cuban government has decided that broad Internet access is essential to a 21st century economy.”

As quoted in Reuters, LeoGrande added, “The Internet cafes and now this Wi-Fi network show that the government is serious about expanding Internet access.”

In an effort to make the Internet experience even more attractive and accessible to the average Cuban citizen, the government has cut the consumer costs down from $4.50 to $2 an hour. Two dollars an hour is still a fairly high price to pay in a land where most earn a monthly salary of around $20.

Back in January, the Obama administration relaxed the U.S. economic embargo for telecommunications in the chance that doing so would help to promote the Internet in Cuba.

A small but tenacious group of Cubans have already taken the problem of their country’s lack of Internet into their own hands. There has been, since 2001, a dedicated community of tech-minded individuals building an illegal Internet network that runs across the whole of Havana.

As reported in Gizmodo, the makeshift connections make use of hidden Wi-Fi antennas and broadband cables that are stretched across rooftops. The result is that over 9,000 computers across different neighborhoods in Havana are now connected.
By Roberto Ontiveros,
July 5, 2015

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